Liang wins Cardiovascular Anesthesia Mid-Career Award

By Roman Petrowski, Office of Communications

Dr. Yafen Liang - SCA Mid-Career Award

Yafen Liang, MD, receives the SCA Mid-Career Grant for her research on preventive strategies of perioperative acute kidney injury.

The Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists (SCA), has awarded Yafen Liang, MD, associate professor in the Department of Anesthesiology, a two-year, $100,000 SCA 2022 Mid-Career Grant for her project “Prevention of Post-Cardiac Surgery Acute Kindy Injury by Proton Pump Inhibitor: A Prospective Randomized Controlled.”

Liang’s research focuses on perioperative organ injury, and her study is the direct translation of sound mechanistic pathway discovery in preclinical models to clinical application and development of novel preventive strategies of perioperative acute kidney injury (AKI) using the drug esomeprazole, which is commonly used to treat acid reflux. If proven to be effective, Liang’s study could be easily implemented in clinical practice and serve as an effective treatment for perioperative AKI.

Each year more than 500,000 cardiac surgeries are performed in the U.S. alone. AKI is a common complication following cardiac surgery and is associated with increased postoperative morbidity, prolonged hospitalization, progression to chronic kidney disease, and increased short- and long-term mortality. Preventive and therapeutic options are extremely limited.

Moving forward, Liang and her team plan to recruit 100 open heart surgery patients at Memorial Hermann – Texas Medical Center for a new trial beginning in September 2022.

Liang received her MD from Shanghai Medical Center at Fudan University before accepting a residency and cardiovascular anesthesia fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she also served as a research fellow. In 2018, she was recruited as the director for advanced heart failure anesthesiology at McGovern Medical School and was appointed division chief of Cardiovascular Anesthesia in 2019.

As division chief, Liang oversees and integrates all clinical areas of Memorial Herman Hospital – Texas Medical Center Heart and Vascular Institute, including operating rooms, catheterization labs, and echocardiography labs.

The SCA is an international organization of health care professionals committed to excellence and leadership in providing excellent cardiovascular and thoracic patient care through education and researcher. SCA research grants are available to assist in the further advancement of anesthesiology.